The University of Wyoming has come under fire recently for a cowboy slogan that some faculty groups are criticizing as sexist and racist. The slogan, “The World Needs More Cowboys” was intended to draw more students to the university and embrace their cowboy spirit. Instead, higher education officials are saying the slogan sets the school back to the 1950s.
The Wyoming Stock Growers Association said they are intrigued by the apparent controversy that has arisen at UW over the planned marketing campaign “The World Needs More Cowboys.” And frankly, are saddened that some UW faculty are apparently unable to see beyond the literal image of the cowboy.
In a statement regarding the cowboy slogan, the 146-year old Wyoming cattle association said:
“Yes, we are proud of the true image of the real cowboy or cowgirl, often of very diverse race or ethnicity, riding the range on a well-groomed horse while sporting a cowboy hat, chaps, spurs, and a rope. That is an image that we strive to continue even as many modern true cowboys have replaced the horse with a 4-wheeled vehicle.
“We are equally proud of the much broader meaning that is attributed to the ‘cowboy’ in modern day Wyoming. Our citizens of all occupations are admired for approaching their work and their lives with the ‘cowboy spirit’ of determination, commitment, and honesty. As UW has so aptly stated, ‘A cowboy is not what you are, but who you are.’
“The Code of the West, derived from the book, ‘Cowboy Ethics’ by James P. Owen, which has been adopted by the Wyoming Legislature as the official code of our State, is often referred to as the Cowboy Code and is depicted by a picture of a cowboy nurturing a young calf. The messages in that Code, including ‘Take Pride in Your Work,’ ‘Be Tough, but Fair,’ ‘Ride for the Brand,’ and ‘Remember Some Things are Not for Sale’ represent values that are often missing in today’s world. These are cowboy values that should be upheld by our University and instilled into our young men and women.
“Yes, the world needs more cowboys.”